Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mochitsuki 2015

Jasper trying mochi pounding.
Jasper is a big fan of mochi, scrumptious rice cakes often filled with a sweet filling and dusted with cornstarch. The cakes are made of rice and the filling is made from beans, but it's very hard to guess this, especially with the fruit flavored mochi.  It's a traditional part of the Japanese New Year to make mochi.  So every year there's a Mochitsuki in Portland which draws the Japanese community together to pound mochi and share many different aspects of Japanese culture.  Every year the festival grows. This year it was held at PSU on three floors of the Smith Memorial Student Union. We saw a storyteller, a dance performance and taiko drumming.  Then we moved on to the kid's activities, martial arts demonstrations, vendors and food.  Jasper even got a chance to try pounding mochi himself.  It's interesting to me that the Japanese New Year is marked on January 1, according to the Gregorian calendar that much of the world uses.  Yet in Japan they also celebrate the zodiac animal which corresponds with the Lunar New Year which this year begins on February 19 (the Year of the Sheep or Goat). Japan has so many unique and wonderful traditions, more and more of which are represented at Mochitsuki each year, and it's well worth checking out!

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